"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief... and unspeakable love.” - Washington Irving

Friday, June 11, 2010

We Remain Grateful... Thank You Dear Friends

Roughly 4 months ago, Jhon and I received some very touching messages. Without consciously knowing that we needed it, we felt truly overwhelmed with the outpour of love and sympathy we got not only from family and close friends but from unexpected friends and acquaintances.

Mostly throughout the span of our pregnancy, we chose our miracle to generally be a 'need-to-know' basis. Though we were not hiding our blessing, we considered it as privileged information. It was our intent to keep the whole experience of our son, our tremendous joy -- pure and untarnished. We did not want any negative energy hovering around us during the whole course. We wanted only happiness and positivity surrounding our Marcus.

When the quiet news went around that we have lost our son, Jhon and I were flooded with thoughts of sympathy and prayers. Some even considerately mentioned that they had no idea we were expecting and were truly devastated for us. It was all unexpected.

Outright we want to acknowledge the love and support of our closest friends who came to Marcus' service. With only a moment's notice (1 day) through text message, they went out of their way to be there for us, took time off their busy workday schedule to pray with us and offer support as we laid our beautiful son to rest.
Jinno Rufino, Mike Thio, Anna Puey, Hubert Tan, Leo Capinpin, Mark Chua, Celine Robinson, Ghengis Enrique, Angela Valenton, Nic, Greg Anonas, Trixie Reyes, Patricia Malay, Mela Vicente, OJ Maliuanag

One of my best friends, Trixie, flew straight from CDO to witness the beauty of our Marcus and was at our side while we cried tears for him.

Jinno's message of support was touching. “Jhon, you know I’m always here for you. I have been before and will continue to do so for you both. I’m just a call or text away. I know you will continue to be strong and one day raise beautiful children. God bless you both.”

Mike's sympathy was moving. “Jhon my heart pours out for you and Jet. I am so sorry you had to go through this and it makes me sad knowing that such great people have to go through so much undeserving pain. I am always here for you whenever you need me. Please call me anytime. You are always in my prayers.”

Friends of family who we did not expect to come but did through the kindness of their hearts.
Aisha Jaafar, Saladin Jaafar, Faricia Jaafar, Frances Deocadiz, Carol Hoese, Alex Campbell, Suzette Ledesma
Others extended their sympathy through text messages and Facebook.
Billie Roche, Norman Velasco, Rico Robles, Fatima Angela, Apple Arboleda Delfin, George Olarte, Geoff Chen, Rudolph Ganzon, Mike Sy, Angela Garcia, Hansen Nichols, Dru Baltazar, Paul Limjoco, Miguel Blardony, Abby Sunglao, Adora Cantillon, Erica Ilacad, Diana Fonseca, Katrina Primavera, Tollo Bote, Sharmaine Cantillon, Mary Ann Nicolas, Marge Enrique, Fayinna Zaragoza, Korina Nevada, Trina Salavante, Paul Genato, Jona Bagadion, Rhea Lin, Sarah Meier-Albano, Aina Sun, Ate Aida Sunglao-Canlas, Mayi Teodoro, Trina Mears, Greg Chua, Ate Gaylie, Fatima Jaafar, Abbie Manlapaz, Mila Salazar-Bruan, Mitch Ramirez, Jerome Tan, Gerald Ganzon, Bong de Ocampo, Paul Olarte, Paulie Yllana, Kathrina Cantillon, Camille Santiago, Gimo Asuncion, Kristine Tan Liao-Williams, Justine Perrine, Dra. Lyra Clemente-Chua

Our friend Billie, weeks before we lost Marcus, bought booties for him - all the way from Houston - as a welcome present.

Grace Carlos, who I will forever thank for reaching out during our lowest moments and offering words of love and prayers. I will always feel a special connection with her. “I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I was so touched with the blog you created for him… ... ...I can just imagine what you are going through… God will pull us through.”

Jhon's family friends from Jersey, Kuya Romer and Ate Christine, sent a sympathy card through mail. The personal touch of receiving an actual card through traditional mail is sincerely heartwarming.

My high school classmates:

Trisha Martinez-Reyes, Jenny Vergara-Selga, Olga Cinco, Maureen Ava dela Cruz, Ade de las Alas, Andree Lou Kintanar, Rachelle Ruan, Melody Cortez-Rayala
One of my oldest friends Trisha, sent her love from New York, "Hi Jet, Just found out what happened to Marcus. Omigosh I feel so sad right now. Hope I was there to console you. I wish I was there talaga. Be strong ok. Kaya mo yan. We will be praying for Marcus. Just remember that everything happens for a reason. Pareho pa sila ng name ng inanaak mo his real name is Ralph Marcus. ... ... ... Believe me I know how you feel. Basta be strong ha and just keep on praying no matter what. I know sometimes sobrang malulungkot ka pero you have to fight it. Be positive always. Believe me things will be brighter again.....it will come just be patient. I maybe thousand of miles away but I'm here for you. Anytime you need to talk to me just email me and I'll call you. Take care my friend."

Ana Interino-Cezar, another good friend from high school, "My deepest condolences to you Jet and to your family. This blog brought tears to my eyes. My prayers are with you. Be strong, my friend."

Claire Mercado-Obias, a high school classmate, who although we never got close, sent a genuinely sentimental message that I treasure. "My Dearest Jet, I'm sending you a big hug today. I know it's not much but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts in this challenging time in your life. The slide show and blog that you started for Little Marcus has touched me (and I'm sure has touched a lot of people, too) and I want to say thank you for sharing your feelings. I know that writing down your thoughts, and most especially being appreciative of all your blessings, will help you & Jhon become stronger. There's this saying that goes, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." We may not understand why God has taken away a very special blessing, but that doesn't mean He doesn't love you. Keep the faith and hold onto His hand. Little Marcus will be in my prayers. I promise. Take Care & God Be With You Always, CLAIRE."

Ricah Ramos-Maramba, another high school classmate who I never thought would extend her sincere support and prayers to us truly moved me. "Hi Jet. I am so very sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your husband that God may give you strength thru this challenging time in your lives. Always remember that you have a friend in me. Message me anytime if you need anything!!"

A few old friends from NHC:

Carla Zensen Erazo, Samantha Novales-Floro, Charlie Tsai, Vicente Pajaro
Joshe Romo Leroux, another NHC friend who I haven't seen and heard from for a long time was one of the first ones to message from thousands of miles away, "So sorry my friend.. God works in mysterious ways and it is not for us to judge his decisions. I will pray for you from the distance and be sure that this will pass. God has something bigger for you.... Love, Maria"

Our close family friend and spiritual advisor, Fr. Patrick Guru sent his personal message of love and sympathy from Indonesia. “Gud pm John and Jet. I have heard about The Little Angel Marcus from Mache. I was happy for both of you that Jet could deliver a baby Marcus. We do know the plan of God for us and for him. He is now with God and becomes your guardian angel. I feel sorry to hear that he has gone. I do pray for him and for both of you. Condolence. God bless you all. Fr. Patrick Guru”

From Jhon's good friend Phil Lirag, “Jhon, I am SO sorry to hear the worst news a person can ever hear.... My condolences to you, Jett, and family. There are no words to say, nothing can be done to give you the satisfaction, but I do pray for Marcus, and hoping that time can heal your pain.... Again I’m so sorry to hear about your loss... God bless pare.”

Jo Tuazon-So, Jhon's friend whose sweet gesture donated to March of Dimes in the name of Marcus. “Read Regina's status. I didn't even know u guys were having a baby. I'm really really sorry, I can't imagine what ur going through. I'm preggers with a boy right now and we had a little scare that he was gonna come out at 26 weeks. Condolences Jhon. My prayers to u, ur little one, and the fam..”

Ana Miren Achaval, another good friend of Jhon who lives overseas messaged, "Jhon, I received a text early this morning here in LA about Marcus being in the NICU. I sincerely prayed for him. I'm sooooo sorry for your loss! My condolences and prayers to you and your family! I'm wishing you everything you need to get through this difficult time. With heartfelt condolences, Anami”

From Chris Gaisberger, "Jhon, I wish I had the words to take the pain away... But Life can be very unfair. You have a strong head on your shoulders and a good heart. Let this guide you to brighter days. I love you brotha!”

From Simon Corr, “Jhon, No mistaking this is going to be a really difficult time for you. Just to let you know my thoughts are with you... much love, Si”

From Michelle Tagle, "Your little one touched many hearts, mine included. Jhon you and your family are in our prayers, take care always.”

From Mj De Jesus Diaz, "Hope you're doing ok John... Be strong, God has His great plans for us, we may not see and understand them right away but trust in Him for He only has the best plans for each and everyone of us. God bless you and your family!!! Our condolences.”

Ate Belle's friend, Chiqui Soriano together with her family Eric and Mingy, extended their sympathy by sending mass cards.

Ate Mache's friends sent text messages of sympathy and prayers.

Walter Tolentino, DeeDee Deborah, Pac Quinsay, Raysh Reyes, Joyce Bangayan, Baby Tugbang, Rely Fajardo, Tita Marissa Serrano
Alain and Gina Duminy offered their precious time to help Ate Mache edit Marcus' pictures and create the slideshow for his service. They stayed up till after midnight and offered their labor of love for baby Marcus. Two weeks after his service, they gave us a small prayer book to aid us with our grieving.

Ate Remy Bantigue drove around till the wee hours of the morning looking for the perfect urn for baby Marcus. A special little urn for tiny babies.

Extended family members and loyal staff who stayed up almost the whole night to prepare for a flawless service for our baby boy.
Tita Lily Montealegre, Rhoda Maderazo, Gina Magluyan, Joey Torres, Alvin Torres, Tito Lando Montealegre, Inday Torres, Jimmy Bactol, Juret Torres
Hazel, Heritage Park's funeral director who extended her help to organize and lead Marcus' solemn memorial service.

Jhon ultimately obliged everybody with message of heartfelt thanks. While I still could not muster to communicate my thoughts and feelings to others, Jhon pulled through for us yet again.

Occasionally, we hear from friends to check up on how we are doing. We appreciate that they respect our privacy and space during these times while at the same time making sure we are holding up well.

Our dear friend Patricia Malay, who never gives up on us. “Jet, Jhon – was just praying and was moved to text you this: 1 Peter 4:12-13 says – dear friends, don’t be surprised at the painful trial u are suffering but rejoice that u participate in the sufferings of Christ U ARE BLESSED for the spirit of glory & of God rests on u. I’d just like to comfort u both that although we will never know why God allows what he allows, He does use even heartbreak & painful loss to show u that He is there to bear ur pain with u. And He promises comfort & peace despite the sadness. We just have to hold on to Him. The Lord uses these situations to show us that if we submit even our pains to Him, He will take care of us. So through pain, just hold on. He is there. And how blessed u are that ur family & friends are too. I pray for u constantly and also for baby Marcus. I love u both.”

On Valentine's Day I received a cherished and loving message from Trixie, "Dearest Jet, Happy Hearts day! I know you would have wanted to spend it with your Little Marcus physically, but God has other plans.. . For now you will have to be strong for your little Angel, who is cheering you on as you struggle with the toughest time in your life. I know what you are feeling is incomparable but I feel like my heart's been squeezed so hard and tears just fall off my eyes when I think of what happened to you, Jhonny, and Marcus. I didn't want to bother you by entertaining me, after little Marcus' cremation because I knew you and Jhonny were tired and you needed your alone time... Take care of yourself Jet and Jhonny baby. I know this Valentines day is a special one still because you have Little Angel Marcus engraved in your hearts :-) love yah J."

Jenny, one of my high school best friends, never forgets to cheer us on. "Jet, I'm praying for you guys especially baby Marcus. Take care... God has special plans for you both. I'm just here anytime you need me. Love you Jet, God bless. Always be strong."

Mela Vicente, our friend who even though far away sees to it that we hear from her. "Hey sweetie! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your blog. Thank you for your honesty. I wish I was there with you and Jhon. Write to me whenever you want even if you just need someone to listen. You're always in my prayers, Mela"

Now four months after the passing of our son, we remain grateful for all the love and support we received from everybody. Despite our reservations and maintaining a low profile during the course of our grief and loss of our precious Marcus, our considerate friends still made sure they offered some thoughtful words of sympathy.

We knew that in time we will find enough strength to thank everyone. We have not forgotten, we have not taken them for granted. Now we are ready, now is the time.

Though we know it is long overdue, we thank everyone. Thank you for showing you cared. No matter how awkward it was for you. Even though unsolicited, you went out of your way and conveyed support. We are very thankful. Our hearts overflow.

And our special thanks and gratitude to Fr. Santhosh who cancelled his various scheduled appointments to celebrate Holy Mass during our Marcus' service and on his 4oth day. He continues to pray for us and most especially for baby Marcus. Though he said his goodbye to us yesterday to go back to India, we will never forget him. We promise to stay in touch. We will talk to you soon Fr. Santhosh. We have so much to tell you.

In truth, we have more than a handful of friends who we, sadly, did not get to hear from. Friends who we expected to be the first ones in line to offer their sympathies. We are saddened by this turnout of events. Although it is their prerogative and we respect their distance. Death is an uncomfortable topic, more so if it's an infant who passed away. What more should we say? ...Though you won't hear us saying, "we understand."

But more importantly, thank you to you who were there, and to you who continue to be there for us. You are indeed invaluable instruments of our on-going healing and long road to acceptance.

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